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February 1, 2023
By Craig Galbraith and Bob DeMarzo
The industry’s worst-kept secret is finally out. Rob Rae, longtime channel leader at Datto, has some new digs.
Rae is joining cloud and services distributor Pax8 to head up community and partner ecosystems. It’s a move the company hopes will bring more MSPs into its fold given the strong following Rae created at Datto.
Rae arrived at Datto in 2013 to help build the backup provider’s channel in its pre-IPO days. His move to Pax8 is reminiscent of Datto’s pre-IPO hypergrowth in the mid-2010s. Will lightning strike twice?
Channel Futures first reported Rae’s plans to leave Datto as the company’s $6.2 billion takeover by Kaseya neared the finish line. At Pax8, he will have the freedom to work with partners and vendors as the company works out a corporate structure. He initially will have no direct reports, but expects that to change.
Rae is on the job now and reports to chief commerce officer Nick Heddy.
“Rob is a well-respected IT channel veteran and considered by many the most influential person in our partner ecosystem,” said Heddy. “He has dedicated his career to enabling the IT channel to grow, get efficient and build thriving businesses. We are excited to welcome Rob to the team, where we believe he will bring tremendous value to our partners, people and the industry.”
Rae’s employment status has been a hot industry topic for months. Even as some other top executives left or were shown the door when Kaseya announced the purchase of Datto last April, he stayed. Kaseya even made it a point to say Rae was sticking around. But he quietly left last fall just a couple of months after the acquisition was final.
In all, Rae has more than 25 years of experience in technology and business. At Datto, he not only was instrumental in the company’s partner growth, but also was a de facto spokesman for the MSP industry, tirelessly traveling as an ambassador for the sector. Furthermore, he played a key role in Datto’s process of becoming a public company and then going private again.
Moreover, Rae helped build Datto’s channel into one of the most vibrant indirect selling communities. He now jumps to what many consider the most compelling story in cloud distribution. Like Datto when Rae joined, Pax8 is a pre-IPO, private equity-backed firm. Many industry insiders believe Pax8 could go public soon if the IPO market rebounds in 2023; that, or sell to a larger entity in tech distribution.
“I have spent my career helping partners transform into modern MSPs, and in this new role, I will be able to leverage my experience across the entire technology stack,” said Rae. “I look forward to diving in, supporting global teams and continuing the great momentum for Pax8 and the IT channel industry.”
We caught up with Rae this week. The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
Channel Futures: Why Pax8? Why now? Can you articulate your feelings about the organization, and why you made the move?
Rob Rae: After leaving Datto last October, I was looking for something new. There were some very specific criteria I was looking for. I wanted a company that was not only MSP-friendly, but was actually helping the actual MSP channel grow and investing in it quite significantly. There are a lot of organizations that were doing that, but by far, when you look Pax8 up and down — its commitment to the channel, the commitment to managed services, the reputation that they’ve been able to develop — has been significant. So it was definitely one of the front-runners right from the start.
See our slideshow above for the rest of Channel Futures’ Q&A with Rob Rae.
Read more about:MSPs
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